Hole, "Nobody's Daughter"
Summary: While there are a few very strong tracks on Courtney Love's...er, I mean Hole's "Nobody's Daughter," the bulk of the album is really just more of the same. Good enough for the longtime fan to purchase, but that's where it ends.
The first two tracks -- "Never Go Hungry" and "Nobody's Daughter" -- do set the stage for what should be a good album, providing an acoustic/electric dialog that ends up creating a genuinely cool effect prevalent on much of the album. If you can hear the music underneath Courtney's personality, you'll find something that's uniquely orchestrated but surprisingly folky. It's like Dylan but recorded with a wall of sound effect. Very interesting.
But then there's the ridiculous posturing of "Skinny Little B*tch." Not bad musically, but lyrically eye-brow-raising, and followed by the horrible start-stop vocal work on "Honey," this creates an album-derailing point that is difficult to recover from. It's nice of Hole -- which really seems to be only Courtney Love at this point anyway -- to show a good variety, but when the outlying tracks are crap, it lends to a very uneven experience.
"Pacific Coast Highway" tries hard to pull things back together, and nearly succeeds, if it weren't for the repetition of the refrain. "Samantha" blasts in with some folk-rock power, but lyrically doesn't satisfy either. It tells a story -- or at least wants to -- but you'll be left wondering exactly what the tale tells. It's clearly a surface story about prostitution...or maybe not. Or maybe that's what they want you to think, but...well, who knows? It's there, and it's okay to listen to.
By the next two tracks, the innovative and fun orchestral/folk sound has grown old, but luckily Nobody's Daughter takes a few twists and turns. But un-luckily (?), they aren't very surprising turns. "For Once In Your Life" is a retro 80s crooner, which is cool, but then the album ends on two straight up alternative rockers. The riffs are uninspired, and the lyrics repeat a bunch of the same stuff from the rest of the album. In fact, counting the number of times the word "dumb" is used in some form or the phrase "wrap her legs around [insert noun]" comes up is a pretty amusing experiment. Until you lose track, and reach for the stop button.
Overall, this is a Hole album. They've all had some moments of "Hey! That's way better than I though it would be!" followed by a whole lot of "Meh?" moments. Where the rest of the band went is beyond anyone at this point, so why they chose the band moniker is puzzling, but Courtney sounds pretty much the same solo or with a band, so what does it really matter? If you're a fan of Hole, you're getting more of the same, and enough of it good to make it a worthy purchase for the collection. If you didn't like Hole before, or don't care for alternative rock music, then this isn't going to change your mind. In fact, it may just reinforce your decision, for better or worse.
For more info: check out the links below and listen to some tracks right here!